The Evo-Stik League Northern Premier
Published 11th September 2012
.....delight following his team's victory at Prescot Cables in the FA Cup First Qualifying Round on Saturday but then claimed that the draw could have been more favourable for his team.
Johnson was pleased to have a home draw but believes both Marine and his side could have had much more favourable draws.
“We did a very professional job last Saturday and thoroughly deserved our victory. I was a little disappointed that we didn’t go on and win by a few more once we had a two-goal lead but that’s what happens sometimes.
“We took our foot off the gas but to be honest Prescot never really troubled us throughout the 90 minutes and their goal came from a free-kick which Aaron Burns clearly won the ball, but I am not going to talk about the referee.
“There was a sense of relief in the dressing room after the game as we knew that with the condition of the pitch and the fact that Prescot had so many ex-Ashton players this could have been a real banana-skin. However, we played reasonably well and Prescot`s formation suited us as it enabled us to get the ball out wide with ease as they tried to congest the centre of the pitch.
“We are slightly disappointed to have been drawn against Marine and I know their manager Kevin Lynch feels the same. We know so much about each other although I am sure it will be a great game for the neutral. Both teams know they can win which in my opinion makes it the tie of the round.
“We now have a really tough game at home to Grantham Town, who have proved so far this campaign that they can compete with the top sides in this league. I must admit that I don’t know a great deal about them but I will be doing some research between now and Saturday.
“We have started the season quite well although I firmly believe our performances could be much better. We were very comfortable throughout the first 45 minutes against AFC Fylde last Wednesday and then a silly defensive error straight after half-time put us on the back foot for 20 minutes or so but once we weathered that storm we absolutely tortured Fylde and they couldn’t live with our pace, power and never say die attitude.
“Overall, you would have to say a draw was about right but I felt we had more clear-cut chances and made their keeper work much more than they did ours. I expect Grantham to be a very strong, physical outfit that will come to Hurst Cross and try to make it as difficult as possible for us. We will need to continue with our work rate and ensure we don’t allow the opposition opportunities that can be avoided.
“This league is relentless and no team can afford to either take their foot off the pedal or underestimate the opposition. We are instilling this into our lads and it is clear that we have characters in the changing room that understand what we need to do to win games. We have made a good start but that is all we have done. I have been here before and I am more determined than ever to maintain our consistency and remain at the right end of the table. It won’t be easy and the lads will need to continue to show the same desire and commitment they have so far and I am sure they will.
“We are a different proposition from previous seasons and without being disrespectful to any player who has played for me, this squad is the best I have worked with and both individually and collectively we are strong mentally and physically. Hopefully, we can get a little bit of lady luck with injuries and suspensions. Having said that the squad has recently been tested and of course Saturday`s game against Grantham is the first of Craig Robinsons three-match suspension for his sending-off against Nantwich Town. Mark Peers, Astley Mullholland and Danny Caldecott have all been struggling with niggling hamstring injuries and Chris Lynch has a persistent groin problem. We will be taking it easy this week and the lads will be getting as much treatment as they possibly can.”